Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
FINAL PROFESSION OF FRANCISCAN BROTHERS MINOR
Today, the Church invites us to praise God not merely for the wonders that He has worked, but for who He is; for the beauty and goodness of His Being from which His actions spring. On this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the Church does what Saint Francis so often did: we praise and thank God because He is love and because He calls us to enter into the embrace of His love. God is love, “not a sentimental kind of love, but the love of the Father who is the origin of all life, the love of the Son who dies on the cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world” (Pope Francis). As Pope Francis teaches us: “Thinking that God is love does us so much good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave Himself to us and walks with us. Jesus walks beside us on the road through life.”
Today we contemplate the Heart of God, His deepest reality, His being One in the Trinity, a supreme and profound communion of life and love. Think about God’s words to Moses in our first reading today. They are quite exceptional because they tell us the truth about God. God tells Moses His name: “Lord” and He cried out to Moses: “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” This is God’s name: Mercy, Grace, Love, Fidelity. This is the essence of Christianity because it is the essence of God Himself. We see this truth in the words of today’s Gospel: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish, but might have eternal life.” This is God: Mercy, Grace, Love, Fidelity. God gives to us what is most dear to Him, His Son, who empties Himself of His glory in order to give Himself to us. And the Father and the Son give to us the Spirit who, as Pope Benedict, once said “leaves the peace of the divine embrace to water the deserts of humanity.”
Today, Brothers Leo, Juniper, Lawrence, and Paschal put their lives at the service of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Church. This is an incredible thing we are witnessing here today. Four men are making a total commitment, leaving everything behind, to share Christ’s life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They are making a definitive life commitment to live as Franciscan Brothers Minor, a very radical way of living the Gospel on this earth. These men know their weakness, so how can they do this? The answer is faith, deep faith. They trust that God indeed is Mercy, Grace, Love, Fidelity. They trust in Him and they love Him. Why else would they vow to life their lives in poverty, chastity, and obedience?
The evangelical counsels are, above all, Saint John Paul II taught us, “a gift of the Holy Trinity.” He said: “the consecrated life proclaims what the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit, brings about by His love, His goodness and His beauty.” “The deepest meaning of the evangelical counsels is revealed when they are viewed in relation to the Trinity.” The heart of poverty, chastity, and obedience Is love for the Trinity: “love for Christ, which leads to closeness with Him; love for the Holy Spirit, who opens our hearts to His inspiration; and love for the Fther, the first origin and supreme goal of the consecrated life.” And dear brothers, besides the evangelical counsels, your fraternal life in community has a Trinitarian dimension. Like the first Christians, you must strive to live in Christ with “one heart and soul.” This too is a witness to the Trinity, the unity, the oneness, of the three Divine Persons.
The Franciscan Brothers Minor also make a fourth vow of consecration to our Immaculate Mother Mary, to the one who is already living in the glory of the Trinity. In his salutation of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Francis prayed: “Hail, holy Lady, most holy Queen, Mother of God, Mary who art ever Virgin, chosen from heaven by the most Holy Father, whom He has consecrated with the most holy beloved Son and the Spirit Paraclete, in whom was and is all the fullness of grace and all good.” Saint Francis recognized that Mary was chosen by God the Father. That she was the Mother of the Son and consecrated by the Holy Spirit. How beautiful it is, brothers, that you make a perpetual vow to honor the woman who brought the eternal Son of God to us, the beloved daughter of the Father who always did the will of the Father, the woman who in an extraordinary way was a temple of the Holy Spirit. Mary truly had a privileged relationship with the Trinity.
Mary is a gift of God’s love to us. She is a gift to you, dear sons, who are about to make your perpetual vows. In difficult and tough times, as well as in joyful times, look to her. She is our mother and our queen. She accompanies us always on our journey of faith. Let us entrust our praise of the Holy Trinity today to the hands of the Virgin Mary. Let us entrust Brothers Leo, Juniper, Lawrence and Paschal to her love. Mary, our mother, always watch over these your sons and help them to be holy disciples of your Son, as they walk in the footsteps of Saint Francis!